Lamont tolls plan headed for dead end so far

Politics

(WTNH)–The Governor‘s plans for highway tolls appear headed for a dead end and it looks like bridges to any compromise with Republicans are burning.

Earlier this week, the Governor said, “People know where I stand. I have no idea where the legislature stands.”

The Governor is talking about the fate of his big push to place up to 50 electronic highway tolling gantries on four major highways in the state, but this week it appears that reality is setting in.

The Governor added, “They’ve (Republicans) got ‘Prioritize Progress’ which is all borrowing and we’ve got our plan out there or maybe some combination of the two.”

The Democratic leader in the Senate, Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven) saying that last option could be the road forward, adding, “What we’re looking for is some consensus plan that would most likely involve tolls at some level, also, probably additional bonding to some degree.”

The Speaker of the House, Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) is even more uncertain saying, “It’s an ongoing conversation, ultimately I don’t know where we land but we know we have a transportation problem.”

But the Republican leader in the Senate, Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven) says that right now he doesn’t see any compromise possible, “Most of it is just based on the lack of confidence that government’s going to keep their promise of limited tolling, if that’s what Senator Looney is talking about, because they just don’t keep their promises when they run into financial straits.”

Sources say that Republicans are leery of any compromise with the Governor and the Democrats because they were shut out of negotiations on major issues in the regular session, like ‘Paid Family Leave’, ‘Minimum Wage’, and the budget.

As for an upcoming Special session on July 22nd?

“That’s the day we’re coming back. We haven’t set an agenda yet for that day beyond the fact that we intend to try to do the bonding bills and the school construction bill on that day,” said Sen. Looney.

Rep. Aresimowicz says, “Hopefully we get to the point where we can take action.” Aresimowicz isn’t even certain about July 22nd adding, “No, no, we’re polling our House members now. It looks like it will be the 22nd or 23rd but we haven’t announced yet.”

Negotiations on the size of the amount of borrowing over the next two years is also running into snags. One source says Democrats want to borrow about $1.3 billion each year and the Governor had set his Debt Diet at $1 billion.

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